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September 30, 2014

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You can't justify unjust situations simply because they were preceded by something equally (or even more) unjust. This reasoning isn't so far removed from: Well all these people rounded up in concentration camps are just going to die a terrible, anonymous death anyway. Wouldn't their lives be more "meaningful" if we did some involuntary medical research on them that could benefit others down the road?

Of course if you don't believe that an embryo is a human being, this argument probably doesn't do much for you. That's an entirely different topic though. If I believed that human embryos were just "medical waste" I'd have little problem using them for practically any "useful" purpose.

The dilemma is similar to what I thought when watching a movie (I believe it was Gangs of New York), in which fresh deceased bodies were sold for research. It was not the research that would be done on the bodies that made the doctors sleazy; it was their lack of concern on how they acquired the bodies and encouragement, through money, for more bodies.

My concern is with the medical culture. If such a culture is capable of encouraging (or not discouraging) the killing of a child for profit (or possibly children in the case of IVF), how reassuring can it be that the same won’t be done for the alleged (or actual) advancement of science?

Just my initial thoughts.

Excellent analogy Samuel....I was going to offer something along the same approach but yours post is better than what I would have managed to compose.

"I think killing Jews is wrong, and it saddens me to think that hundreds of thousands of leftover jewish kids are going to be discarded in gas chambers or just kept barely alive in concentration camps. Wouldn’t it be a more meaningful life for them (and better for society) to be used for scientific research that could benefit millions of people who suffer from diseases and disabilities rather than be wasted in death or an endless captive state?" IT always boils down to the one main question: What is "it"? As soon as the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic value of a human being is established, these challenges fall completely apart.

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the outrage society has when we learn of scientific experimentation performed on animals and seek measures to guarantee humane treatment of research subjects. Possible advancement in medical treatments are jeopardized due to such considerations. Yet I would understand the sentiment.

We've banned certain insecticides over the concern of detrimental effects on the development of eggshell material in endangered species. I would understand the sentiment behind such bans.

Yet, we have druthers about the advancement of research over human embryos. We have them so use them. More warmth for a lab rat or an eaglet than for the integrity of what is human.

Sigh.

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